The preparation for the upcoming season is very advanced for the team based in Milton Keynes. After the reveal of their 2021 contender RB16B, the team and drivers headed to Silverstone for some testing and filming days on the track.
On Wednesday, Sergio Perez, who arrived at Red Bull after he lost his seat at Racing Point (now Aston Martin) had a private test in the 2019 car to prepare himself for the drive in the current one. Perez, who will now partner Verstappen, already began his hard work with the team in Milton Keynes as well as in the simulator, in order to prepare himself best for the challenge behind the wheel of the car that got Red Bull a 2nd place last year in the Constructors Championship, was definitely happy to be able to finally hit the track. As he said himself: “It’s been an amazing day, my first day with Red Bull Racing. To look at my name on the car, it’s something extremely special and something that is definitely a dream come true.”
Coming into the team after the demotion of Alex Albon, who has been downgraded to the position of test and development driver, Perez has been definitely motivated to begin his work with Red Bull, a team where he can let his talent shine. Yet speaking of Albon, who gave interviews to selected media on Monday, the Thai driver is definitely motivated to prove himself once more and get back into that seat. As we can read in an interview with motorsport.com: "It was disappointing and it is always going to be disappointing because this is our dream. But very quickly to be honest it was one of those things where there's no point feeling sorry for yourself. You've got to get back into it and do as much as you can to get back. My goal of course is to be back in a seat next year, and just be ready for this year as well. You never know what's going to happen in terms of fitness or with COVID around.”
Heading over to Thursday, not much information was thrown around regarding the filming day. In the morning, ahead of the start, Max Verstappen revealed his helmet for the 2021 season.
It’s definitely not a huge change to his previous ones, still carrying the lion logo on top of the lid like always, resembling the helmet we’ve seen during the 2020 season.
When it comes to the actual shakedown of filming day, and the first glimpse of RB16B in action not only for the viewers but also for the drivers, both Verstappen and Perez were happy about the chance to jump into the car and get a few laps in. Additonally, Christian Horner stressed the importance of such a potentially minor step as filming day. As he said: "It’s always great to see a new car hit the track for the first time and to see the drivers get their first laps in. Today is mainly just about making sure all the basics are functioning well before it all gets packed up and sent out to Bahrain and in that regard today was a success. It was good also to have Alex here driving the RB15 along with Max. It’s important for Alex to stay sharp as he’s going to play a crucial role in the development of RB16B."
When it comes to Max Verstappen, he expressed the need to get into the car to try to get a grip on the new car. As he said: "I started with the RB15 to just get a few laps in after the winter break and then I jumped into the RB16B. Days like today are all about getting comfortable with the car and with the new power unit, trying to make things run smoothly and trying to be well prepared before we go testing in Bahrain. It’s always good to be back driving a Formula One car and the first time you go out of the pits is such a great feeling."
Sergio Perez has been very optimistic about the work the team has done so far with the car, and had an emotional moment driving behind the wheel of RB16B. As he said: “Driving a new car is always special – for the driver and also for the Team. They have been working so hard through the winter, so to finally take the car on track, it’s quite an emotional day. I can say I think there is a lot of potential. The conditions were not great but it was nice to get a feeling for the car. It’s pretty exciting. Earlier this week I drove the RB15 but today I could feel a step in overall grip and top speed.”
The next chance for the drivers to see their RB16B will be during the Bahrain pre-season testing, that will happen between 12 and 14 March. Because the testing will be split between the drivers, Verstappen will be in a little bit more of a privileged position, due to his obviously already long work with Red Bull. Nevertheless Perez, another F1 “veteran” at this point who had his first entry in the 2011 Australian GP and scored 10 podiums in his career will definitely not give up, and these two are surely gonna be an interesting pairing worth everyone’s attention during the 2021 season.